A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Ease of Play
The game puts a lot of weight on complex strategies. There's a lot going on at any given time. Players try to earn more victory points than their opponents through a variety of different actions and accomplishments, while simultaneously working to turn Mars into an inhabitable environment.
Violence & Scariness
Some actions can put different factions in direct conflict with each other, but none of the violence is portrayed onscreen.
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There's no profanity, but there's an online chat for multiplayer that could expose younger players to potentially offensive language.
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Products & Purchases
The game's the official adaptation based on the popular board game of the same name. This package includes the base game only, with none of the expansions that have been released for the physical board game, though these may be included later as downloadable content.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Terraforming Mars is the official mobile adaptation of Jacob Fryxelius' popular board game of the same name for download on iOS and Android based mobile devices. Players take on the role of a futuristic company as it competes against rivals to develop thriving communities on the inhospitable Martian surface. The game's complex and complicated, which could be overwhelming for younger or casual gamers. The game also supports both local and online multiplayer matches for up to five players, which could potentially expose players to offensive language via the chat feature.
Is It Any Good?
It's safe to assume that the colonization and terraforming of a hostile planet like Mars is a complex and complicated affair. And if you didn't believe that before, you will after playing a few rounds of this mobile adaptation of the popular Terraforming Mars board game. While the game seems simple enough at the start, it quickly becomes a strategic circus act, with players trying to balance tactics and micromanagement while juggling two completely different but connected paths to victory. On one hand, players have to find ways to adjust and maintain key elements to make the planet habitable. Simultaneously, they have to fend off rival corporations and race to accomplish key milestones, earning more Victory Points than the competition. It's easy to put too much focus into one at the expense of the other, which is a surefire formula for defeat.
One issue is that the game's not very inviting for newcomers. Even with its tutorials, it feels like players are tossed into the deep end of the pool before they learn how to swim. And this is a game where learning how to play on the fly just isn't going to cut it against the computer or against more experienced players. Online multiplayer can get frustrating at times in turn-based games, as it's difficult to even see which players' turn everyone is waiting on. Making matters worse, the game suffers from connection issues that often wipes out match progress if the game is interrupted in in any way. These sort of glitches don't necessarily ruin the game, but when they happen, it can definitely make players feel like walking away from it for a while.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.